Smoked Gouda Brussels Sprouts

I decided to comb through my old saved recipes on the other day to see if I could find any forgotten gems. Oftentimes I click save on a recipe with great intention and purpose… and then completely forget about it.

A recipe for smoked gouda brussels sprouts caught my eye. With a few tweaks it was easy enough to turn into low carb version. I did use maple syrup in the version I made, since a teaspoon is quite a small amount, but it only really had a subtle effect the taste, so feel free to omit it if super extra low carb is your goal.


1 lb fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter
3 green onions
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
4 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded
1⁄4 cup ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the Brussels sprouts and butter in a medium casserole dish. Snip or chop the whites and pale green parts of the onions (reserve the greens for other use) and add them to the dish. Roast the sprouts, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the cheese. When the sprouts are adequately roasted, remove casserole dish from the oven. Stir in to the roasted sprouts the sour cream, maple, paprika, salt, pepper and shredded cheese. Sprinkle ground almonds on top to cover. Return to oven and bake until almonds are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Autumnal Mash

Week after week, I’ve been making recipe after recipe for cauliflower “rice” in my effort to hone the culinary use of this low-carb substitution. Many of the recipes were refreshing and light-tasting for these last balmy days before the weather changes definitively for the chilly. But as the first weekend of October ushered in a few days of unmistakable BRRRR, I found myself wanting to revert to an ages old favorite… the mash!

Do the mash... the root vegetable mash!

Do the mash… the root vegetable mash!

Of course, my erstwhile love affair with the mash was in the form of mashed potatoes. Back in the olden days of the 80’s and early 90’s, I was an extremely picky eater with a palate that allowed for the true enjoyment of very few foods. The great culinary theme of my formative years was to take A) some manner of very white starch, and add B) some manner of sauce that did not stray far from the color palate of the starch. I didn’t even like tomato-based spaghetti sauce as a kid. I was a true culinary terror! If I could have eaten macaroni and cheese every day for every meal, I would have done so with glee. Grilled cheese sandwiches would have been a welcome part of the rotation, and for an even bigger change of pace… mashed potatoes and gravy! Even into my high school years when my food preferences had begun to eke toward adventurous (that is, adventurous in comparison to what came before), I still looked forward with delight to mashed potato day in the cafeteria. Our high school cafeteria, being capitalistically crafty, offered the option of buying a whole lunch, or buying items a la carte. I can’t remember a single day I got the whole lunch. In fact, most days I went into the snack bar line to get a soft pretzel or little turkey sandwich. But on mashed potato day, I was in the main line, ordering up a bowl of reconstituted potato with as much near-neon yellow gravy as would fit in the bowl without dripping over on my way to my reclusive seat.

One can never go home again, and nothing proves the concept better than attempting to eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as an adult, and I imagine cafeteria potato buds and mysterious yellow gravy would be the same. But as my palate has matured, some fundamental favorites have not changed, at least in concept. I still love any meal that includes sauce over starch, it’s just nowadays that sometimes takes the form of Tikka Masala over Basmati. The concept of mashed vegetables is a tricky one, anymore, as conservation of carbs is also an issue in mind. Cauliflower mash is a staple of any low-carb dieter, and it remains probably the lowest carb option when cravings for mash arise. However, I see no need to limit our possibilities in this respect, so this weekend, I did two varieties of mash, one recipe old, and one new.


1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream, sour cream or half & half
salt and pepper

Place the squash whole in a large, shallow casserole. Prick the skin several times with a fork. Roast whole in the oven at 350 until flesh is soft. Allow to cool and then peel off the skin, scoop out the flesh, and discard the seeds.

In a medium-sized, deeper casserole dish, mash the squash with butter, cream, salt and pepper. Since squash can be stringy, I like to whip the mixture with my immersion blender until it is silky smooth.

If the squash mixture is somewhat soupy, place back in the oven, uncovered, to keep warm while letting some of the excess liquid evaporate. Check on the mixture often and stir to check consistency. When it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes, serve and enjoy!

Again, I can’t stress this enough: squash flesh tends to be stringy when cooked. Butternut less so than other squashes, but you’ll still have strings. I DO NOT recommend a simple treatment with a potato masher (i.e. the method for lumpy-style mash). If you don’t have an immersion blender, try a food processor. It’s a little more work, but worth the effort to get a silky smooth result.


2 lbs. rutabaga
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 cup cream, sour cream or half & half
salt and pepper

Peel the rutabaga and cut into chunks. Place in a large saucepan or stock pot. Cover with water and boil until tender.

Drain the rutabaga chunks and place in a medium, deep casserole dish with butter, garlic, cream, salt and pepper. Mash or process with an immersion blender until smooth. If necessary, place in the oven to keep warm while other dishes are cooking. Serve with your favorite gravy, sauce or curry.

This was the first time I ever mashed a rutabaga. Honestly, it behaved very much like a potato. If anything, it’s a little drier and requires a bit more boiling time. But otherwise it is very potato-like. It did not have excess liquid at the end, like butternut and especially cauliflower mash do. I did use sour cream, instead of liquid cream, but I imagine it wouldn’t be really any different than potatoes if you did use half & half. I used a full cup, but adding half the cream would probably also work out okay because the rutabaga is so close to potato in consistency. I’ve gotten in the habit of adding a goodly amount of cream to any mash, simply because cauliflower mash requires it to get a bit more potato-like body. The rutabaga would not need as much, FYI for those looking to limit fat and/or dairy.

The Great Mchicha Experiment

A few years ago, while browsing — perhaps aimlessly — through the annals of my go-to recipe site,, and I encountered a dish the likes of which I had never seen before… it purported to be a Tanzanian dish for creamed spinach called Mchicha (forgive my ignorance of Tanzanian cuisine… you know how rife Pittsburgh is with Tanzanian restaurants, right?). Based on the ingredient list, I didn’t see how this dish could be anything but an unmitigated revelation of culinary splendor! Creamed spinach and creamed spinach curries are among my favorite side dishes (a little research reveals that true Mchicha uses Amaranth greens, but local substitutions are often the case in recipe conversation from one continent to the next). Not only does this recipe boast spinach in curry spices, but it is creamed by a combination of coconut milk and peanut butter. How can this recipe possibly be anything but unparalleled deliciousness?

270609-spinachI tried this recipe, shortly after I found it a few years ago, and I was underwhelmed.

How could this recipe have failed so disappointingly? The reviews of this recipe on the website were glowing and enthusiastic. The ingredients combine very many of my favorite flavors. What went so wrong with a recipe that seemed in every way so right?

I was reminded of the poor performance of the Mchicha recipe a few days ago. I decided to peruse my catalog of saved recipes on, looking for that gem of a recipe I might have saved and forgot about years before. I got a few hits of inspiration from this list, but I also stumbled upon the Mchicha recipe and it served as a stark reminder of the delicious potential that went unrealized. It was a few years back, and so I don’t remember exactly what I did in putting this recipe together, but in mulling over the recipe once more I did zero-in on one particular variable that could have led the recipe astray. The recipe calls for curry powder, even proclaiming one should use one’s favorite blend!

89525044The trouble with curry powder is that there are so many blends of so many origins and so many types. Cooking in modern America with published cookbooks and Internet recipes has given us the expectation that we can cook with exactitude. After all, even little known or exotic ingredients can be researched and ordered by mail from specialty vendors. However, many of my favorite cuisines (you know, the spicy ones) have precisely a tradition of inexact-itude. Contemplating what went wrong with this Mchicha recipe, I couldn’t help by be reminded of the time my Kuwaiti friend showed me a cook-book from back home. It was published with a Western audience in mind, featuring colorful pictures and English translations of each recipe. One unmistakable point of authenticity, however, stood out. Nearly every recipe called for “mixed spices.” My friend explained that every household back home has their own particular spice mix, sort of a “house blend” in the same sense that a particular restaurant might have a “house dressing.” The differences in the blends from one household to the other can sometimes be marked enough, he explained, that conflict may arise in a new marriage over whether to use the mixed spices from bride’s childhood home, or the groom’s. I immediately thought of curry powders and curry pastes and the myriad of different types, not only for different styles or regions, but even within the same type (just try to find consistency in Garam Masalas!). Looking at the Mchicha recipe again this weekend, I understood that line item calling for “curry powder” was in fact a call for whatever local “mixed spices” would have been used.

On the one hand, understanding the Mchicha recipe in this context opens up the recipe with legitimacy to a lot of creative interpretation (worry not, I won’t be using any household “Polish mixed spices”), but it also opens the recipe to a much wider margin of error. I don’t remember what sort of curry powder I used making this recipe the first time, but it very well could have been the discordant ingredient that collapsed this recipe.

downloadApproaching this recipe anew, I realize I could have researched recipes for Tanzanian curry powders. However, perfecting a new spice blend often takes a bit of trial and error, and given one failed attempt already on this recipe’s track record, I didn’t want to risk anything but a tried-and-true blend. Rather, I recalled that since the time when I made this recipe the first time, I have encountered other varieties of African cuisine. In fact, I went on a different culinary adventure a few years back in effort to master my own versions of some Ethiopian recipes. In doing so, I formulated my own recipe for the Ethiopian spice mix, Berbere. Perhaps, I mused, a nearby African curry powder would make this dish work in a way that whatever curry powder I’d used the last time had fallen flat. I have used my Berbere in many Ethiopian dishes, some of them calling for peanut butter, with great success. At the same time, my interest was piqued by the coconut milk as well. I had just ordered some Thai red curry paste in bulk online, and I couldn’t help thinking that the mix of coconut and peanut butter were such an awesome combination in Thai curries, however far away from Tanzania such cuisine might be. The recipe author even included a chipper parenthetical that one could use one’s favorite curry powder or paste! Perhaps a red curry paste was just what this dish needed for deliciousness.

I couldn’t decide; I wanted to try both. I resolved that the only way to salvage this dish from its prior disappointing conclusion was to try both options. I revisited the recipe and determined that I would halve the spinach, but keep the other ingredients as is (to up the flavor ante) and increase the curry powder/paste to make the difference all the more marked. This weekend I prepared two versions of Mchicha, side-by-side, one with Berbere once with Thai red curry paste.

Two Variants of Mchicha, with Berbere and Thai Red Curry Paste

Two Variants of Mchicha, with Berbere and Thai Red Curry Paste


2 tablespoons ghee or 2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder (Berbere!) or paste (Thai red curry)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup coconut cream
1 lb spinach, chopped

Melt the butter or ghee in a wide saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the tomato, the spice mix and the salt. Stir and fry until the spices become fragrant. Add the peanut butter; stir until melted into the other ingredients. Add the coconut and the spinach. Heat over medium-low fire until spinach is cooked and sauce has thickened. Serve as a side dish to your favorite curries!

This time I had two dishes of success! I think I may have slightly preferred the version with Thai red curry paste, but the Berbere version was also delicious, just in a different way. I think that intensifying the other ingredients also helped, as I tend to prefer a bolder flavor palate, and this recipe is relatively sparse on ingredients in general (no garlic, even!).

One recipe note: I highly recommend using chopped spinach. I used Trader Joe’s chopped frozen spinach for convenience, but I think last time I used a different frozen spinach. Some packages of frozen spinach are, in fact, whole leaf, and even if those whole leafs are baby leafs, there is something just slimy and unappealing about a cooked whole leaf of spinach. On the other hand, I don’t think pureeing this dish after cooking would be a great idea either; a large part of its aesthetic appeal, I think, are the different colors in everything remaining separate: green of the spinach, red of the tomato, light peanut-y golden brown of the sauce. Using spinach that was chopped from the outset makes the spinach both integrated enough and still distinct enough that the dish works on many levels.

The Conundrum of Chili Powder vs. Chili Powder

A particular terminology duplication has arisen in modern American cookery, and I’m at a bit of a loss on how to resolve it.

In ordinary USA recipe parlance, “chili powder” has come to denote a particular spice blend. Go to any grocery store, or even most dollar stores, and you will see offered among the spices “chili powder” which is not, for certain, powdered chilis. Perhaps powdered chili pepper might make up one component of the spice mixture, but those chilis are unlikely to be very hot since most mainstream American palates run to the mild side (certainly, mainstream Pittsburgh tastes do). This chili powder is, in fact, a blend of spices intended for Mexican and Tex Mex recipes, popularized and mainstreamed more than anything by recipes for the quintessential Tex Mex stew, itself called Chili.

Chili Peppers

Chili Peppers

I have nothing against spice mixes, certainly. As a hobby cook of some conscientiousness, I do like to make my own spice blends when it is practical to do so, especially when a particular blend is not easy to come by in a form offering consistent quality and/or value. Berbere, the standard spice blend for Ethiopian recipes, as an example, is not readily available in grocery stores, and those that do offer it usually do so at a high price, and purchasing a blend online incurs added expense of shipping and the ever-present risk that one’s favorite retailer will discontinue the specific brand of berbere mixed spices that the chef has come to rely upon throwing all of her tried-and-true Ethiopian-style recipes into flux and chaos… rather than tangle with all these contingencies, I make my own so that every batch of Mesir Wat will be the same as the last.

Other blends produce fewer stumbling blocks and thus fewer qualms on my part with using the pre-mixed grocery store blend. Badia makes a good line of spice mixes, including a turmeric-centered curry powder, cajun seasoning, chili powder, etc. I do have a preferred recipe for making my own chili powder (which I will share below), and my own recipes for various differing styles of curry powder, such as garam masala, which should never be confused with other types of curry powders, such as the turmeric-based powders or the Madras powders, etc. But sometimes, a gal just wants grab a jar of spice mix and measure, without going to the trouble of pre-mixing her own blend. By now, I have a pretty good sense, for the sake of my own tastes, when using my homemade blend makes the difference and when throwing myself on the mercy of a commercial spice company makes little to no difference.

And so, I have no qualms with recipes calling for spice mixes, chili powder among them, as it affords the chef a simple opportunity to choose either a homemade spice blend or a store-bought mix. The problem with “chili powder” is that there is an ingredient by the same name that shows up in recipes: namely chili peppers that are powdered.

Powdered Chili Peppers

Powdered Chili Peppers

I’ve become pretty good over the years at telling which type of “chili powder” a recipe is calling for. A recipe for Indian or Thai curry is probably calling for powdered chili peppers, whereas a Mexican, Spanish, Cajun, mainstream American cuisine recipe, quick & easy recipe, etc. are probably calling for the spice blend. This duplicative term bothers me the most as a recipe author; when I post recipes online containing the spice blend called “chili powder” I always feel that I have to clarify in some way. I more often find myself making recipes with chili powder, rather than powdered chilis, and yet I always feel that I have a responsibility to clarify as the writer of a given recipe.

This sense of responsibility, this commitment to clarity makes me wish to solve this terminology impasse in an easier, more efficient way. I suppose I could use the distinction indicated above, chili powder vs. powdered chilis. But this division would really only work for people who follow my recipes close to enough to know I had pre-established this distinction. The term “chili powder” is so well-established in both meanings out there in the world of recipe writing, that I would still feel the need to clarify every time I included “chili powder” in a recipe. What is the elegant solution here? What can I call “chili powder” to make it clear that I mean the spice mix, and not powdered chilis?

I am open to suggestions!

Component Spices for a Chili Powder Blend

Component Spices for a Chili Powder Blend


5 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon allspice

Combine all ingredients in a container. Mix well. Use in recipes calling for the spice blend chili powder.

Parmesan Risotto with Cauliflower Rice

One of the staples of my recipe collection is risotto. I don’t always make it according to the “rules” (I often use long-grain instead of arborio rice, don’t hate me!), but slow-cooked skillet rice in a creamy, broth-based, wine-based sauce is perhaps second only to pasta with cheese sauce in my kitchen repertoire. It is a recipe that’s easy to change up, use a different cheese, add some vegetables (or occasionally fruit!), toss in some nuts, try a different spice mix… risotto is endlessly adaptable and delicious, but it sure as heck is not low carb.

My collection of successful cauliflower “rice” recipes continues to grow: Cilantro Lime “Rice,” Cauliflower Jambalaya, Tabbouleh Salad, Vegetable Biryani, Mexican Rice, etc. Is cauliflower “rice” risotto a real possibility? My greatest successes with substituting cauliflower for rice have come with dishes where I keep the cauliflower raw — it stays crispy, doesn’t leak too much water into the dish, doesn’t become slimy. I’ve encountered some cauliflower “rice” risotto recipes online, but they involve cooking the “rice” in the same manner one would with a traditional risotto, and I just can’t imagine that working out okay without facing the same consequences I’ve experienced when cooking cauliflower “rice.” Would it be possible to make the risotto as a sauce, sans cauliflower first, and then add the raw cauliflower at the end?

I set to finding out.


6 cups cauliflower rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
3 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup cream or half & half
2 cups shredded parmesan or other white italian cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Rice your cauliflower. Fold into a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

Heat butter in a skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the white wine and bouillon cubes. Simmer until the cubes are dissolved and wine reduced by half. Add cream, cheese, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until cheese is melted. If the cheese gets clumpy as it melts, use an immersion blender to smooth it out. In the end, the cheese sauce should be thick and somewhat tacky, a good layer sticking to the spoon as you stir.

Allow to cool a bit. Still in the cauliflower rice. If you want to heat the rice up a bit, put the entire risotto mixture in a large, shallow casserole and heat uncovered in the oven at low temperature (200 or 250) until heated through. Serve with your favorite Italian meal and enjoy!

This dish actually turned out quite well. It’s not true risotto, of course, but it is a reasonable and tasty substitute.

Paella-style Spanish Yellow “Rice”

In searching for interesting recipes to transform into tasty cauliflower “rice” dishes, I keep running into paella. I gather from the recipes I’ve seen that paella is similar to jambalaya in that it aims at being a one-pot meal, a single plate with rice, delicious spice mixes, vegetables, seafood and meat all together in one harmonious blend of flavors.

This time, however, I wasn’t looking for a one-pot meal, but rather an accompaniment, and all the ingredients in a true Paella would have been overkill. I nosed around online and found some recipes for simpler, Spanish rice that was saffron-based, rather than tomato-based. Comparing simpler yellow rice recipes with paella recipes, I came up with the following for using cauliflower “rice” to make a light and flavorful side dish.

As usual, I divide up the ingredients in stages of preparation to keep the raw ingredients and cooked ingredients separate.


1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup white wine
generous pinch saffron

1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup peas, frozen

2 large or 3 small roma tomatoes, chopped, fresh
6 cups cauliflower, riced
salt and pepper, to taste
lemon wedges

Combine the cilantro, lemon juice, oil and garlic cloves from the first segment of the ingredient list. Set aside.

Add the saffron to the white wine in a small bowl or cup. Allow to steep.

From the third ingredient segment, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Saute the onions, garlic and bell peppers until softened. Crush the bouillon cubes. Add to the skillet along with paprika and the saffron wine mix. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the peas. Heat through and then remove from burner and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the cauliflower rice, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add the cilantro mixture and stir until well-distributed. Once the skillet mixture is cooled off a bit (I like it to be close to room temperature), add it to the rice and stir once again until combined. Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Spicy Tomato Soup

Looking for something easy, tasty and low-carb that I could make in a large batch to take for lunches at work, I adapted a few soup recipes into the following. I’ve been enjoying it for a few weeks now!


1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped
4 cups broth, beef or chicken
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24oz) jar prepared salsa
2 tablespoons cilantro, or cilantro chutney
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (the spice mix for making for chili)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot. Simmer on medium low for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Process with an immersion blender for a puree-style tomato soup, or leave as is for a chunky-style soup. Garish with extra cilantro. For a hearty twist, top with shredded cheese and/or sour cream. Enjoy!

Parmesan Roasted Turnips

My low-carb diet persists, and so does my search for new and different vegetables to substitute for all my favorite carbs. I wrote recently about my rediscovery of the rutabaga; it is quite impossible, really, to be reminded of the rutabaga without also being reminded of turnips… after all, fundamentally every description of a rutabaga compares it to a turnip.

Turnips are much easier to come by, and so when I struck out into the city in search of rutabagas, I naturally encountered turnips first. In fact, only two grocery stores I went to had rutabagas, but nearly all had turnips. I purchased turnips as a contingency for my Bolognese recipe, planning to spiralize them if a rutabaga could not be procured. But after finding the latter, I decided to try a different recipe with the turnips I had collected along the way.

Parmesan Roasted Turnips

Parmesan Roasted Turnips


2 large turnips (or 2 lbs. of small ones)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 475.

Peel and cut turnips into cubes or wedges. In a plastic freezer bag, combine turnips, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Seal bag and toss ingredients together.

Spread oil- and spice-coated turnips in a large, shallow casserole dish (should be large enough that turnips can be spread in a single layer). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Roast for 10-15 minutes. Flip turnips so that they get roasted on the other side. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe turned out well, tasty in a simple no-frills kind of way. I was actually surprised at just how potato-like the turnips were. It gives me many ideas for future recipes involving turnip substitutions for potatoes!

Cilantro Lime “Rice” and Coconut “Rice”

I’ve found that one cauliflower can produce an awful lot of “rice,” especially when it’s on the medium to large side. Depending on the specific plant, I might get 8 or 9 cups of rice out of one head. a162f4b9a88b367e05177701d620261aAs a result, I’ve been splitting my “rice” and using the produce of one head for more than one recipe.

This past weekend, I made myself some favorite Thai-inspired dishes, Pumpkin Curry and Squ-oodles with Peanut Sauce. As an accompaniment to these two dishes, I riced my cauliflower and used the 8 cups of “rice” it produced to make two dishes.


juice and zest of one lime
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or cilantro chutney
2 spring onions, chopped
4 cups cauliflower rice

Rice your cauliflower; fold in a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

Zest your lime, then juice it (fruit is easier to zest fully round, and easier to juice without the peel). Combine zest, juice, oil, salt, pepper, cilantro or chutney, and onions in a bowl. Add 4 cups of cauliflower rice and stir until the green ingredients are evenly distributed. Enjoy chilled as a salad, or warmed to eating temperature as a side dish.

This dish was pretty predictably delicious. It is, after all, very similar to the basic ingredients in my favorite coleslaw recipe. It was a perfect accompaniment to the curries.

Two "Rice" Dishes, Coconut and Cilantro Lime

Two “Rice” Dishes, Coconut and Cilantro Lime


1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
7 oz coconut cream
4 cups cauliflower rice
salt & pepper, to taste

Rice your cauliflower; fold in a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic. Add the white wine and coconut cream. If your onion was not chopped small enough (my eyes are very sensitive to onion and I can only get a few cuts in before they burn so badly I can’t be in the same room with the onion), you may want to puree the sauce with an immersion blender as it thickens. Simmer, stirring often until reduced into a thick, almost tacky, sauce. Allow to cool; it should be close to room temperature before adding the cauliflower.

Stir in the cauliflower rice. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy.

This recipe was a bit trickier. It is based on the concept of coconut-cooked rice that Sabrina introduced to me. Essentially, she cooks rice in an equivalent amount of coconut milk to the amount of water usually required. It has the welcome effects of lowering the glycemic index and adding flavor. I’ve been wanting to do something similar with cauliflower rice for awhile. In fact, it was the first recipe I tried with cauliflower rice. The problem was that I treated the cauliflower rice like regular rice, and it ended up wet and slimy.

With my new-found cauliflower rice expertise, I realized that I had to keep the cauliflower raw and crispy in order for this recipe to work. The key here was taking the time to reduce the sauce. Too much liquid will make this dish runny or soupy. The sauce needs to be thick enough that it will stick to the cauliflower. That’s why I describe it as tacky, sort of like paste or glue. It is also important not to add the cauliflower when this sauce is still hot. The cauliflower will release a bit of liquid if you put it in a hot sauce, making it less than crisp and defeating — at least in part — your efforts at liquid reduction.

Having taken these precautions, I must say that the dish turned out wonderfully, just as I had hoped, a worthy substitute for Sabrina’s Coconut Rice.

Tabbouleh Salad with Cauliflower “Rice”

As it turns out, a full-sized head of cauliflower produces quite a lot of “rice,” and so last weekend I divided what I produced and made a second recipe. This dish continues the trend of using raw cauliflower “rice,” this time to make a low-carb tabbouleh salad. Of course, in this instance, the cauliflower is substituting for bulgur wheat. As a result, this version of tabbouleh with cauliflower “rice” is much simpler to make, as one does not need to cook and then let cool the bulgur.

Make certain you are using fresh parsley for this recipe; tabbouleh traditionally features parsley as the main ingredient, in the same way a standard restaurant salad features lettuce. The amount of parsley is truly up to you. Use more than one bunch if you want to make it more traditional. I simply used as much as my indoor herb garden had to offer.

Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad


3 cups raw cauliflower “rice”
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch of parsley, chopped or snipped finely
4-6 spring onions, chopped or snipped finely
3-4 roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced

Rice your cauliflower in batches, stems separately from florets, in a food processor. Fold into a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

Strain the lemon juice to remove seeds and most of the pulp. In a medium bowl whisk lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper together for the dressing.

Add the cauliflower rice, parsley, spring onions and tomatoes. Stir together until well combined. Store chilled for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. Serve chilled.

I was quite pleased with this recipe. I’m not a huge fan of parsley, but the combination of flavors kept its profile mild in the dish. I found that the amount of lemon juice also cut down on the cauliflower’s natural flavor, which I was worried might be too dominant due to lack of spices or other seasonings. All in all, a very refreshing and tasty dish. It would be a perfect side dish for any Middle Eastern meal, or as a salad for a summer picnic or cook-out.